Stop cuts to the College of Midwives of Ontario

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On November 8, 2018, the College of Midwives of Ontario was advised that the Ontario Government's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care will no longer provide operational grants to the College, retroactive to April 1, 2018.

Colleges for health care professionals are created based on laws that require them to function to protect the public. The work of the College of Midwives of Ontario (CMO) includes ensuring that any Registered Midwife operates at a certain professional standard and competency. The work that they do is mandatory and their existence is part of what makes care safe for pregnant patients and their babies. All Colleges on initial set up receive supplementary funding from the Ministry of Health until their membership grows sufficiently to be self sustaining. The College of Midwives was working towards this goal.

However, midwifery unlike other health professions is a managed program. This means the Ministry of Health decides when and where midwifery can grow. This means that midwifery has grown much more slowly than other professions. There are 910 midwives in Ontario, there are 33,000 doctors in Ontario and there are 175,000 nurses in Ontario by comparison. Until the government champions midwifery in Ontario so there are enough midwives to completely resource their College, it is irresponsible to place even greater financial burdens on individuals midwives who carry an immense impact on the health and wellbeing of mothers and their newborns.

For 25 years, the College has reliably received annual grants from the Ministry. The loss of this funding creates a significant budgetary shortfall for the College, and will result in the College operating in deficit until 2021. While the College will seek efficiencies both operationally and in its Council, it is likely that midwives will have to pay more to the College on an annual basis. 

Midwifery is a critical healthcare service for hundreds of thousands of Ontarian women and their families. The 910 individual midwives of Ontario already pay a substantial sum for their College accreditation each year (much higher than their healthcare counterparts) and these cuts place an additional undue burden. Until there are more midwives to fully fund the operational needs of the College, the government has a responsibility to ensure this critical overseeing body is well-resourced. Midwives of Ontario have already been fighting to close the pay equity gap with this government and these cuts now send another disappointing message that this government does not value midwives or the families they serve.

The College of Midwives was working in good faith towards independence over the next few years. The Ministry of Health should reinstate their funding based on the original agreement so that the College can continue to do the important job of protecting the public.

**Some information and language borrowed from the CMO website and the Midwives of Mississauga Facebook page**

Sign and share this petition to let the Ontario government, Christine Elliot (Minister of Health and Long-term Care) and Doug Ford (Premier) know that the annual operational grants to the College of Midwives of Ontario should be re-instated immediately.

Personal story
As one of thousands of Ontario women who thrived under the care of these much-needed professionals during my three pregnancies and births, and as the sister to one such hardworking and dedicated midwife - I am ashamed of this disregard for women's healthcare.

Midwives are absolutely critical to pre and post-natal care in the Ontario healthcare system. They remain vastly underpaid, under-appreciated and in high-demand by the hundreds of thousands of women who want to choose their services. They offer an attentive, patient-centred, holistic approach that thousands of women like myself value and choose. 

In the words of my sister, "I am feeling undervalued as a midwife, and I'm scared of what the financial burden could be on midwives in the future to keep the College running. This sends the message again that this government does not care for the midwifery profession nor for the families we work with.

The major issues with this is the fact the grant is COMPLETELY cut, it's RETROACTIVE, and the fact we're STILL trying to get the government to come to the table to discuss remedies to the pay equity gap, which the Human Rights Tribunal ruled in our favour that there has been a lack of pay increase and contract negotiations due to gender based discrimination. All of it together is just way too much to just be "budget cuts", it honestly feels personal."